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From Space Elevators To Solar Bridges?

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Imagine if you will that a small company out of Washington state (USA) achieves the impossible. Imagine if a company called LiftPort is able to successfully build a structure spanning from the oceanic surface to 100,000 km into space.

Such a feat would revolutionize the space industry entirely, and perhaps change the way we view space as we know it. But what if humanity went beyond constructing a planetary elevator into space, and decided to create a solar bridge connecting two worlds?

Solar bridges, like space elevators, would revolutionize the way citizens on two worlds engage in trade and transportation. Instead of having to launch shuttles into space (which can become fairly tedious and expensive), residents could simply transport their goods via an inter-planetary autobahn without worrying about the size and the amount of their cargo.

A solar bridge would also serve as a "rest stop" for future star ships needing to deploy goods between worlds. Instead of docking on a space station and requiring its resources/crew to descend upon the world via miniature rocket shuttles, a solar bridge would enable star ships to quickly deliver necessary goods by tapping into the "economic blood stream" of the planetary system.

Last but not least, a solar bridge would enable scientists, governments, and businesses to conduct research within a microgravity environment without having to board a shuttle. This would not only reduce the cost of these studies, but enable them to transport the fruits of their labor back home or towards the other side.

But just like their space elevator ancestors, solar bridges would only be feasible under certain conditions, and most planetary systems would probably not be suitable to host one.

They would have to be constructed in a region free from hazardous space debris (such as asteroids, comets, and space junk). They would also have to be located within a binary system whose worlds are gravitationally locked, otherwise the rotation or orbit of one of these worlds would simply tear the structure in half.

Although the only planetary system meeting these conditions is that of Pluto and Charon, humanity may want to consider drawing plans for such a feat, especially if they encounter binary systems in other solar systems.

Humanity is a community-oriented species, and one can notice this by observing the massive bridges built between cities, and even countries. If the conditions are favorable enough, why not attempt to build something similar between two worlds?

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  • http://www.planetidiot.com/ idiot

    “Solar” isn’t accurate if we are talking about other star systems. The word comes from the name of our sun, Sol. There is only one Solar system then, ours. For instance if there were planets around Vega it would probably be called the Vegan system.

    Besides, if you are talking about bridges between planets, they would be planetary bridges.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Actually, the author has described accurately why the idea presented would not work. Planets move.

    It’s really all that simple. That is why a space elevator, something that the science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke wrote an novel on, would work much better.

  • Sasha

    Your’e telling a lot bloomy nothing.
    I learned a lot marketing phrases of what these
    solar bridges mean in a philosohpic way.
    But the text tells nothing about the real nature
    of these bridges.
    What are they made of? How does some kind of
    transportation system moves on it.
    Is it a tether? How is it fixed in the gravitional
    fields of planets?
    Why is it favourable instead of a spaceship?
    Do you have any idea of physics or are you just
    repeating something you read somewhere else
    without having understood it?
    This is indeed a critical blog.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “the author has described accurately why the idea presented would not work. Planets move.”

    True, which is why the author of this post wrote the following:

    “They would […] have to be located within a binary system whose worlds are gravitationally locked, otherwise the rotation or orbit of one of these worlds would simply tear the structure in half.”

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Such binary systems exist (like Pluto and Charon, as the author also mentions), but they are relatively rare (at least in our Solar System).

    Anyway, a “solar bridge” wouldn’t work between Earth and Luna, or Earth and Mars, so the entire concept is pretty much far-future stuff…